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Where the Lines End
Shipsides and Beggs Projects
HD video with animation

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Where the Lines End, is a new video artwork which comes out of the Another Fine Mess project*.

Where the Lines End, by artist duo Shipsides and Beggs Projects, is a feature-length, experimental moving image and music work, employing a multi-layered narrative of documentary live-action with creative text, experimental music and visuals effect to expand a ‘pata-perceptual’ and absurdist approach to land and borders. It is especially grounded on the Irish, EU / UK border in the context of Brexit, but with a wider mutual extrapolation to the US / Mexico border and it does so within the unfolding context of the Covid pandemic.

Taking a road-trip format, the artists re-tread the border by foot, van and canoe seeking the ‘geographer’. In tandem, the narrative follows the elevation dataset of the border (which is used to produce experimental music, much of which forms the soundtrack music, along with public-realm old time music) and interweaves contextual material / data from historical, mythological and topographic sources utilising hand-made visual effects, backgrounds and overlays, many deriving from graphic work conflating the border states of USA, Mexico, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The narrative and soundtrack draws from a data-based topographical account (a visualisation and audiation of the terrain) along with experiential encounters. Rendering the absurdity of borders, the story, narrated by voice-actors, engages the happenstance and materiality (predominantly water) of the Irish borderlands and registers the impact of an unexpected dataset (Covid). Commissioned (within Shipsides and Beggs’ Another Fine Mess project) and hosted online by the American University Museum, and Solas Nua (Washington DC, 2020).

It is in 3 episodic parts (combining here to a feature length work).

WHERE THE LINES END. (The full feature of all three episodes) : Another Fine Mess
HD video

The 3 episodes:

WHERE THE LINES END. Prologue and Part 1 : SYNTAX ERROR : Flipping Numbers
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*Another Fine Mess
Exhibition American University Museum at the Katzen Art Center
Washington DC, April - August 2020 (Cancelled due to the COVID19 crisis - but produced online)
Shipsides and Beggs Projects


Another Fine Mess is the latest chapter within a series of fictional narratives and themes which are explored through Shipsides and Beggs’ work. It follows on from Still Not Out of The Woods and fits alongside other narratives; The Iron Way and The Lament of the Accolade Tree.

Another Fine Mess was to be a new Shipsides and Beggs Projects exhibition (at the American University Museum at the Katzen Art Center, Washington DC, April 2020-Aug 2020*) - video, painting, interactive sculpture and audio work - deriving from their leftfield† explorations of the terrains around the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with a wider extrapolation exploring the messiness of connections and migrations of culture, people and textures, with particular interest in the reciprocity of Irish migration in respect to a foundling America. In this respect, it drew on previous work which was an exploration of the Wabash Cannonball – an esoterically named rock-climbing route in the Mourne Mountains which led through granite, quartz and iron to a tale of migration, railroad history, exploited labour, freedom, death coach mythology and to the musicology of the landscape.

The exhibition fell foul to Covid-19 and perhaps therefore in absence marks a time where everything changed. The crated physical work made it only as far as Dublin Airport whilst the video ‘Where the Lines End’ and audio work ‘The Crossings’ have moved on to absorb the new realties.

The audio work explores the topography of the Irish border using mapping, computer programming and musical composition to create an audio work, as a vinyl disc, which transposes elevation data of the border into music, in a poetic sense, as though a record needle was dragged across the surface of the terrain. The video artwork captures much of the strangeness of the subject matter and the changing world thereafter. It initially draws from a road-trip where the artists explored the borderlands by foot, van and canoe re-treading the landscapes, mythologies and geologies of both a fluid place of imagination and a concrete place of fact. Completed during the lockdown era both of these works absorb and display the context and the rapidly changing effects of a global crisis.

The other physical works included; a series of thirteen painted star-maps of the Irish border ‘Tear in the Fabric - Dálriata’; two hand-made painted canoes, ‘Fingers grow gnarled in the watery pass’ and ‘Icy hands hold us afloat’, which both draw on geological, folkloric and historical sources; and ‘The Gatherings’ a series of amplified flatfooting dance-decks, whose design derives from overlays and combinations of the land borders of the UK, Ireland, Mexico and USA.

Shipsides and Beggs Projects are an artistic duo of Dan Shipsides and Neal Beggs based across Ireland, UK and France.

† Here, Dan would prefer to use the term ‘pata-perceptual’ as way to describe their approach, whereas Neal would not be so inclined to add any adjective, preferring the assumption that it is ‘just what artists do’ anyway. Dan agrees with that, but feels in an era of instrumentalised art making, that there is cognitive mileage to gain from evoking and asserting the imaginative, playfulness of methodological anarchy. Either way ‘leftfield’ is no less a complicated alternative.

* Another Fine Mess is a new body of work by Shipsides and Beggs Projects. Also supported by Solas Nua, Ulster University, ENSA Bourges and ACNI / British Council, it was to be exhibited at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington DC, from April to August 2020.



The project was partnered by Solas Nua
The projects was awarded the Artist International Developmemt Fund by the ACNI and British Council

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Video stills from Where the Lines Ends featuring graphic and text.

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